Architects – ‘The Classic Symptoms Of A Broken Spirit’ review: hulking riffs and killer hooks

Surging with abrasive guitar and densely packed layers of electronics, Architects’ latest is a real feast for the ears

Wasting no time since last year’s ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ all-but incinerated the post-Covid cobwebs, Brighton’s Architects roar straight back into the fray with an impressive tenth LP – the frenetic ‘The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Heart’. Buoyed by the energy of getting back in the studio for in-the-flesh writing and recording, the Brighton five-piece’s new array of songs make for a fiery and relentless dish. It’s an album that solidly caps the canon of a band that has always quested to expand the language of 21st-century metalcore. Here, the incorporation of more prominent electronic influences bubble and contort under the headwinds of some deliciously visceral guitar.

From the abrasive brutalism of opener ‘deep fake’, through the eruptive ‘living life is killing us’, all the way until the agitated squall of closer ‘be very afraid’, this is an album that thrills in furious energy, but maintains a balance between light and shade via a deep understanding of dynamics. Subtler moments like the atmospheric mid-section of ‘a new moral low ground’, or the haunted verse of ‘burn down my house’ (in which vocalist Sam Carter channels Chino Moreno) adds just the right counterweight to those heaving riffs, meaning that when they inevitably rear their heads again, they hit much harder.

Underpinning these deft dynamics and vivid mixes is some just outright solid writing. Structured around Adam Christianson’s cataclysmic guitar work, magnetised to Dan Searle’s imposing beats, cuts like the fizzing ‘when we were young’ and the power saw menace of ‘born again pessimist’ build a durable framework for Carter to weave some striking hooks. The former’s chorus, in particular, spotlights Sam’s skill for coming up with a god-tier topline.

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The same can be said for piledriver single ’tear gas’, with its repeating main hook battling the Rammstein-recalling riff for prominence. Carter’s vocals have rarely sounded as controlled and confident as on this record, with his range effortlessly stretching itself beyond the genre’s typical requirements. Glaring proof of which can be heard on the octave-leaping intro to ‘Doomscrolling’.

Though the passing of co-founder, guitarist and key songwriter Tom Searle in 2016 undoubtedly shook Architects’ foundations, the band today have channelled that loss into a cultivated and assured sound, fuelled by a love for what they do.

Speaking to NME recently, Sam Carter explained that; “we’ve always got to try and reach for bigger, bolder, more excitement. I’m always eyes on the next prize. How can we be better? How can we make the records more exciting? Where should we take the sound of the band? We are always looking for that Eureka moment.” It’s clear, after just a few spins of ‘The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Heart’, that Carter and co have hit on not just one, but eleven such moments.

Details

Release date: October 21, 2022

Record label: Epitaph

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